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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
It’s a major prep week and a national championship all rolled into one this week on the PGA Tour as we head north of the border for the RBC Canadian Open. This past week in golf was filled with Twitter beef mostly provoked by an overserved Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus blowing up your timeline, and a series of amazing finishes across the game. On the big tour, Viktor Hovland finally can shout “Viktory!” after coming close to lifting the trophy the past two weeks at Oak Hill and Colonial. His playoff victory over Denny McCarthy (sigh) finally proved he can win on courses that aren’t tropical resort destinations.
The Memorial at Jack’s Place brought a stent test that reminded us it is indeed a major championship season, and par should be your friend on the toughest of tracks. The trick for the Canadian Open staff will be to see if there are flares of U.S. Open prep built into this event that sits the week before the lower 50 states’ national championship. They’ll have to do that on a brand new course that’s never hosted a PGA Tour event. Let the handicapping games begin.
Remember The North
It’s hard to jog your memory on player + course fits in this tournament – the 2020 and 2021 events were covid canceled, the 2022 event was played at St. George’s Golf and Country Club for ONE YEAR…and now here we are in 2023 at Oakdale, another new course for this event. For handicapping sake let’s hope we stay here for at least a few turns on the calendar. In short, Oakdale is a classic northern-style course that is lush with greenery, tree-lined fairways, and hazards worked all over the joint. I’m hearing the back nine will play a lot tougher than the front and the 18th has been converted to a par 5. Moderate in length at 7200 yards, any tour pro could have a week of a lifetime here.
The field the week before the year’s second major is surprisingly sturdy and is led by Rory Mcllroy going for the three-peat over a span of four years and three courses – amazing stuff. Other big names playing are Sam Burns, Tyrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Tommy Fleetwood, and a host of Canadian pros looking for a national championship victory.
Forecasting the Canadian Open
Hard not to throw a few Canucks on the card, right? There are not many national opens like this on the tour schedule and there are close to 20 in the field this week. Notably, Corey Conners, Nick Taylor, and Adam Hadwin are names to watch this week for countrymen to get it done. In the end, it’s going to be a player in good form who thrives on a brand-new course.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top-10 streaks, and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
At Muirfield Village, I couldn’t knock on the door ANY HARDER without getting the W. Jon Rahm lurked, Morikawa injured himself on the Sunday driving range in contention, Hideki showed his face, and Denny McCarthy…oh Denny McCarthy. Just needed a par ion 18 to win in style as a longshot, and it slipped through our fingers. Overall a great week of picks but no winner so it’s a B+.
(Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)
1: Sam Burns – The Dell Match Play champion made a Sunday cameo at The Memorial and takes in some form he’s been missing of late. Also doesn’t hurt that he played well at The Canadian Open last year with a top 5 finish
2: Corey Conners – Falling into the Canadian trap this week, but I’d be shocked if Conners isn’t in contention. No matter the form he finds a way to finish high on the board.
3: Tommy Fleetwood – This course won’t look too dissimilar from lush green courses across the pond, and his ball striking has improved in recent weeks.
4: Matt Kuchar – Not in great form, but the TAM tends to show at new and unfamiliar venues with his boringly consistent game.
5: Eric Cole – This dude has been lurking on board and quietly amassed a great season as a rook. Seems to play well at tougher tracks with demanding greens.
6: Taylor Pendrith – Going with a longer shot as my obligatory second Canadian to pick from the board this week
RYP One and Done Pick: Corey Conners
Where to watch: Golf Channel and CBS all week for the call, and we can only hope they’ve set up the “rink hole” again this year, with hockey boards and a feverish environment around the tee of a par 3.
Why to watch: It’s a national championship event on tour that has lots of history, and always seems to have drama at the finish line.
What to eat: Poutine – fries and cheese curds topped with gravy. It has a very high floor for a bar snack.
Purse: $1.6 million
Winner’s Share: $9 million
How do PGA Golf Majors Pools work?
In PGA Golf Majors Pools, member select six golfers to compete on a roster over the course of an event. The member with the best combined score from the six golfers wins.
Can you include all four majors into one pool?
Yes, but your commissioner can also customize these setting with RunYourPool. Pools can include up to all four majors, repicking golfers each time or adding bonus points for finishing positions
How do I assemble a roster?
Golfers are broken up in to six tiers, as members select one golfer per tier to be on their Major roster.
What happens to golfers who miss the cut?
Any PGA Player who does not make the cut will be given the highest score of Round 3 and Round 4, respectively.
What are the four golf majors?
The Masters is the first major of the season, in April. The PGA Championship and the U.S. Open follow, with the British Open ending as the final major.
How do PGA One and Dones work?
Members in a pool select one golfer to win a tournament, but can't pick that golfer again for the rest of the season. The member with the best score at the end of the season wins.
What is a PGA One and Done pool?
A PGA One-and-Done Pool is a contest similar to Survivor Pools, in which members can only select a golfer one time per season for events.
Which tournaments are played for PGA One and Dones?
Pool commissioners can set up the season for as many or as few tournaments as desired. Go crazy and do all of them! Or dial it back for the major events. As commissioner of a RunYourPool contest, you decide which events to play in!
How to run a weekly golf pool?
In order to run a golf pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like One and Done or Pick-X Pools. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.
How do golf Pick-X Pools work?
Members select a certain number of golfers per tournament, set by the pool commissioner. The member earns the total winnings that their selected golfer won for the tournament. Whichever member earns the most winnings over the duration of the season wins.
What is a golf Pick-X Pool?
A Pick-X Golf Pool calculates tournament winnings rather than strokes gained when deciding a winner. This amplifies the big name events that feature a higher prize purse.
How to run a golf pool?
How you decide to run a golf pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.
What is a prop bet?
Prop bets are any sort of pick or wager on a game that has nothing to do with the score or the final score outcome. Props can range from game types, to team types and even player types - such as who will score the game's first and last touchdowns? Other props, such as novelty or exotic, feature bets on things such as the coin flip or the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
How do Masters Prop Bets Pools work?
Pool members simply fill out a wide range of prop questions, each question worth a different value. Commissioners decide on the point value for each question, along with the amount of questions. Whichever member earns the most points based on corret answers wins the pool.
When is the Masters?
The Masters is typically in April and the first major of the golf season. The 2023 Masters is set for Thursday, April 6 and will run until Sunday, April 9.
Where is the Masters played?
The Masters is annually held at the Augusta National Golf Club located in Augusta, Georgia, USA.